16 Jun 2022

NYMAZ Early Years Conference 2022

Let’s talk about the conference…

“What a fun day that was” (Delegate 2022)

NYMAZ hosted their biennial early years music conference this May at the Regen Centre in Riccall, Selby.

We set out for play, fun and wellbeing, with music and the outdoors as this year’s conference theme. The aim was to develop confidence, communication, and adaptability in sessions for those working with early years, providing inspiration for our ever growing musical toolkits to take into settings!
The day was fast-paced and fun with a range of interactive workshops, inside and out. Activities were broken up with a transition song created by the NYMAZ Early Years Steering Group with the intention to provide the feeling and flow of a day at nursery. With lots of different elements, creativity, fun and play throughout the conference, we wanted to put our delegates into the role of the young people, and for them to experience sessions from a different perspective!

We covered so much in just one day including:

• Soundscapes/soundwalks and recording with 2-5 year olds
• Creating your own musical instruments from everyday objects
• Using the outdoors as your own musical playground
• Developing self-care and wellbeing with practitioners
• Nature, numbers and music – using music to develop skills in phonics and numeracy in the EYFS
• A song share themed on outdoors and confidence
• An exploration into the Dalcroze method of musical learning with Nikhil Dally
• A performance of Lullaby - Sonic Cradle - a collection of lullabies

Feedback from participants was great to hear – and this year we gathered immediate feedback specifically on how participants felt during activities and afterwards, putting emotional and personal wellbeing at the forefront of the sessions and their outcomes throughout the day. We were thrilled to see all delegates open to giving every new experience a go, with all sessions leaving participants feeling either good or great!

Duncan Chapman explored sound and play in the outdoors, experimenting with sound collection by creating instruments out of coat hangers and so much more!

Rebecca Denniff led singing and sound meditation to focus our senses on the different things we can hear in our environment and the natural musicality the world provides, with an exploration of how to use this as musical stimulus when outside.

Made with Music ran a session all about how to develop self-care and wellbeing for practitioners within their practice.


Alice Spencer shared her expertise as a play therapist looking at how music can support the development of literacy, phonics, and numeracy within the EYFS. We explored playing with soundtracks for stories, rhythmic patterns, and musical syllables.

Nikhil Dally brought enthusiasm and energy to his sessions which highlighted the importance of being on the same level as your young people, meeting them at their level of attention span, movement and energy.

“It was exciting, inspiring, and exhausting all at once!” (Delegate).


We were treated to a lovely outside song share led by CME graduates Songbirds. This was the first song share we have ever delivered outdoors, and it was unanimous that we should be doing activities outside so much more!

Bryony Harris led a session all about her recent project for NYMAZ at Mowbray School, a community special school. She explored different methods and techniques to support and develop communication skills for those in the early years who also identify as having additional needs.

As you can see, the day was jam packed with exciting interactive sessions, allowing participants to skill share, network, learn and have fun.

“What a great day thank you”
“I will take so much back to my own sessions”

We closed this years conference with something slightly different to anything we have delivered before. We were treated to a performance of Lullaby - Sonic Cradle from Manasamitra.

We wanted to provide the space and time for our delegates to relax, reflect and process the day. Lullaby - Sonic Cradle was a special way to facilitate this as we explored natural recorded sounds and lullabies from around the world. This session was enjoyed whilst all practitioners and delegates from the day sat or lay down, closed their eyes and focused on the music and sounds around them. It was a rare opportunity to fully engage in the listening activity itself, highlighting the importance of taking a moment not only to rest, but also to enjoy listening, and to enjoy music. It is something we hope has inspired our practitioners to offer their young people too!

“I loved Lullaby - Sonic Cradle. I got to thoroughly rest and think about my day – and it has been a great one!” (Delegate 2022)

Thank you to everyone who delivered at our conference this year, and to all our delegates who made it such a special learning and sharing experience. We are looking forward to providing more CPD over the next year with our Early Years Network.

If you are interested in membership click here.

We are also excited to share that we will be hosting Early Years Music Week on 6 - 10 March 2023.

We would love to see you there!




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